Monday, September 3, 2012

Start Profiling: End Jam Confiscation Now!

I had lunch with a family friend last week, an 84-year old grandmother, born in Germany, who as a child fled the Holocaust with her family and came to America just before the outbreak of World War II. At lunch in Mountain View, I gave her a couple of jars of my jam.

I urged her to eat it with her grandchildren in California before she got back on a plane and returned to Florida. "It won't make it past the TSA," I told her.

Being an older person and an inexperienced flier and a pretty lady used to getting her way with young people, she didn't take my advice. So, the TSA took her jam. She returned to Florida and her invalid husband--on old WW II buddy of my father's--jamless.

I understand we are at war. I am willing to make all kind of sacrifices so that the bad guys don't come over here and make me wear a burqa and not vote and not drive a car and sit in a different section of McDonalds from the men (wait, that last thing may be a good idea).

But I think little old ladies who were refugees from the Holocaust and are married to the few remaining WW II vets they met way back when at their Temple, should not have their homemade jam confiscated at our airports. This is not a productive use of TSA time.

Yes, it is especially annoying to make something by hand and have it wasted in this fashion. No one benefited from my work, lovingly done. But more than that: for every jar of jam the TSA throws away its time on in this fashion, a bad guy may be slipping through with something much more dangerous than a jar of homemade plumicot conserves.

Eleven years after 9/11, we know the bad guys still hate us and want to turn the entire world into their evil theocracy. Witness the twelve Americans in uniform assassinated in Afghanistan in August by members of the Afghan Police these same Americans were training and working hard to help.

But after eleven years of this and the total destruction of the joy of traveling by air in America--I think it is time to develop a better system. Elderly Holocaust survivors ought to have a special TSA line of their own. As should frequent business fliers who can be prescreened. As should certain other people who qualify.

It isn't a politically correct notion in America today. We are all supposed to get the same shoddy treatment at airports in order to make us all feel equal.

But though not politically correct, I think it is actually correct. Elderly hip replacement patients are not on anybody's list of high risk fliers.

Yes there are always lunatics out there--reference Aurora, Colorado. But wasting time on fruit preserves does not help sift out the nuts.

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D said...

I have long maintained that to have an effective TSA, agents should be paid a good salary and get a lot of training. I am convinced by the jam confiscators and my own experience that TSA agents are paid $14 an hour, are fat, uneducated, untrained and if I wanted to sneak an explosive past them I could, as a veteran, think of at least 6 different ways to do so. Wouldn't you know, jam isn't one of them.

Don Meuler said...

Perhaps she should have checked her luggage. Unless it would have been too expensive.

Robin Chapman said...

The only thing harder than reasoning with an 84-year old lady to do something logical (like check her luggage with the jam in it) is to try reasoning with a government bureaucracy. Amen to both your comments.